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Monday, December 27, 2004

Lima Time Again

In an interesting move the Royals once again acquired pitcher Jose Lima. Lima had pitched for the Royals in 2003 when Allard Baird signed him out of the independent leagues. He went 8-3 but pitched poorly down the stretch and was injured. The Royals offered him a contract laden with incentives for 2004 before he signed with the Dodgers. He obviously pitched well for the Dodgers in 2004 going 13-5 with a 4.07 ERA and threw a shutout in the division series.

Baird thinks that Lima will be the "innings-eater" he's looking for. To me that seems questionable with his injury history. 2004 was the first time he'd thrown as many as 170 innings since 2000. It must also be remembered that he was 9-1 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.09 WHIP at Dodgers Stadium last year and 4-4/5.56/1.48 on the road. Ouch. He also gave up 17 homeruns in 68 innings on the road, or one every 4 innings. Dodger Stadium is always a pitchers park and in 2004 was 25th in run scoring at 90.9%. Teams that play in extreme parks tend to be fooled by the statistics of their own players, often overvaluing mediocre pitchers when in a pitcher's park and overvaluing mediocre hitters when in a hitter's park. This appears not to have happened with the Dodgers in this case given that they don't appear to be that deep in pitching right now as evidenced by their desire to get Javier Vasquez or possibly Randy Johnson. It causes one to wonder whether Paul DePodesta (the Dodgers GM) knows something about Lima that Baird doesn't.

Unfortunately, since the terms of the deal were not disclosed it is difficult to really evaluate the signing. The good news for sure is that it is only a one-year deal.


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